In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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A seeker once approached the Lord Shantih to ask a question. But Lord Shantih was repairing his sandal strap, which had come loose.
“My Lord,” said the seeker timidly, “may I speak with you?”
Lord Shantih handed him the sandal.
“First,” he said, “can you repair this for me?”
The seeker took the sandal and, after a few moments of pulling and twisting and tugging at the strap, handed it back to Lord Shantih. The strap was firm. Lord Shantih put it on his foot and the sandal fit perfectly.
“Thank you,” he said, and smiled. “You wanted to speak with me?”
“My Lord,” the seeker said, “you have already taught me that there are things even the wisest man does not know.”
Lord Shantih once came to a pond and stopped to look at his reflection in the still water.
“Is this reflection me?” he asked his companion.
“No, my Lord. It is but an image of you.”
“And how does the water hold my image?”
“It holds you,” said the companion, “with a skin like a mirror.”
“And where,” said Lord Shantih, “do we touch, this pond and I?”
His companion reached into the water and splashed Lord Shantih in the face.
“What is the nature of time?” a seeker once asked the Lord Shantih.
Lord Shantih showed him a sundial. “Time is a shadow,” he said, “that moves with the passing of the day. When the day is done, the shadow encloses the world and all is silent.”
“And where does the day go after it is done?” the seeker said.
“It is held in the shadows of a man’s face,” said Lord Shantih. “It is held in the darkness of his eyes.”
“The Monastery of the Empty Moon,” the Lord Shantih once told a companion, “has no gate.”
“But how do they keep out thieves?” said his companion.
“There is nothing to steal in a monastery,” Lord Shantih said. “Everything of real value is given away.”
“But what of troublesome people?” the companion asked. “How do the monks keep them out?”
“The monks ignore them,” said Lord Shantih.
“But does that work?”
Lord Shantih covered his ears, closed his eyes, and refused to answer. Finally his companion left in disgust.
“It does work,” Lord Shantih called after him.